Military hijacks development & welfare activities


IMPHAL, March 24: The security of the Indian state is dictated more by territorial integrity than its people, said Namrata Goswami of the Institute of Defence studies and Analysis, Delhi.  Goswami said this on the first day of the three-day colloquium held at Senate Hall, Manipur University, Canchipur today. Over 100 intellectuals, activists and representatives of civil society organisations participated in the deliberation on “Militarism and Future of Democracy in Manipur”. It was organized by Manipur Research Forum (Imphal & Delhi) in collaboration with the Department of Philosophy, Manipur University, All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union, Imphal, Human Rights Alert, Imphal and Indian Council of Social Science Research-NERC, Shillong.
While speaking on the historical and political possibilities of Manipur and India, Malem Ningthouja, Chairperson, Campaign for Peace and Democracy (Manipur) critically analysed the nature of the Indian state. He said that Indian state since its inception is based on monopoly capitalism. Ningthouja further argued that the expansion of territory is a crucial part of this interest for creating new market.  He also said that the demand for right to self-determination of and plebiscite in Manipur should be accepted by the Indian state in principle.
Commenting on national security and its rationale, Joseph Kuba,  Regional Director, Indira Gandhi National Open University, Imphal, said that political processes like developmental works, social welfare schemes, etc. have been hijacked by the military in the name of national security.
A Bimol Akoijam, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, said that the subservient mentality of the Manipuris, which came out of the historical compulsions of the Manipuri kingdom being sandwiched between the British Indian Empire and the Burmese Empire, was reinforced after 1891.
Summing up the rationale behind the colloquium, the organisers expressed concern at the diminishing democratic space in the society engendered by the continuing contestation over the monopoly of violence by the state forces and non-state armed groups. The colloquium will further deliberate on other dimensions like armed opposition, media, militarism and violence, women in armed conflict, counter-insurgency and politics of development.


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